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DIY garages 1.0: The hobby clubs

DIY Garages
ER Classics Desktop 2022

We recently had a message about DIY garages

DIY garages are someone's earnings model. Historically, DIY garages had their precursors in business. And those precursors were non-profit hobby clubs, largely funded by companies. The original fathers of the DIY garages apparently are still there.

The corporate hobby clubs

In the past, when the Netherlands still had a manufacturing industry and when liberal employers proved that, unlike today's neo-liberal predators, they practiced a certain social entrepreneurship, there were the corporate hobby clubs. Think of companies such as Philips, Werkspoor, the Blast Furnaces, the Dutch Railways, Verolme ... All companies that put the Netherlands back on the map after WWII. And those that have been sold abroad or simply perished. to be. Well: the Dutch Railways are still there, But almost never on time.

These companies made space and equipment available to staff

Staff who were often technically skilled at the time. Staff who already had money for a used car, but for which official garage costs were too expensive. But woodworking was also done, boats were welded. And all after work, at material costs and under the guidance of volunteers.

An email from Rob Meppelink

Before we received the email from Rob Meppelink, chairman of the Drachtster hobby club, we had actually kind of forgotten that, while we still really experienced the last bit of the manufacturing industry. The memory of Arie Mackaay came back to mind. Arie had the Opel Kapitan he inherited (with the help of some colleagues and supervisors) in the hobby club garage completely in new condition with a 100% stainless steel update in the field of intake and exhaust manifold plus the entire pipes and muffler work of the exhaust system. Even the bumpers and hubcaps were made of stainless steel, beaten and polished to a chrome shine.

Rob Meppelink therefore drew our attention to the Drachtster Hobbyclub

The Drachtster Hobby Club originated from an initiative by the Staff Association of Philips Drachten, the municipality of Smallingerland, the Local Interest and 't Nut for the General. This resulted in the creation of the DHC in 1958. The goal was to give former Philips employees the opportunity to use the space (s) and machinery of the hobby club in a hobby way at a low contribution. Including all garage requirements.

In 1971, DHC was established at the Tussendiepen 57 in Drachten.

On November 1, the DHC became an independent association with its own board, statutes and financial accountability. With this, the official ties with Philips were abandoned, but a great deal of solidarity remained noticeable for years to come. In the meantime, anyone older than 1979 can become a member of DHC. The membership has remained fairly constant over the years.

400 Members ...

Of the 400 members, more than 125 have been members for more than 15 years and there are more than 25 members who have been affiliated with the club for more than 40 years. The DHC has a total of approximately 20 managers who are present per turn and on a voluntary basis during opening hours. In total, this concerns approximately 1.400 hours per year.

In addition, part of the managers and members perform various maintenance activities on Mondays inside and outside the club. Because maintenance is also essential for the club to flourish as optimally as possible.

As indication

The club is open approximately 1300 hours per year. The membership costs € 67 per year [2019 price level] for which people can do odd jobs on the car, boat, metal and wood projects almost daily.

With the fact that in any case there used to be many more of these types of corporate clubs, we are curious how many of these clubs have survived their founders.

Survivors may report.

We will be happy to share their data

Because this type of club where members can dispose of various types of specialist machines (including turning and milling benches), various types of welding equipment (Mig, Mag, Tig, electrical, brazing), blast cabinets and lifts and diagnostic equipment can be a valuable addition on our hobby.

And that tinkering in a club can also be educational and fun? That's great!

So: with this thanks to Rob Meppelink for bringing this piece of Dutch technical heritage to the attention. And the Drachtster Hobbyclub can be reached via



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